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Crypto firms are slashing jobs right and left. So why is Binance hiring?

June 13, 2022, 5:03 PM UTC

The job market has been rough in recent months at crypto firms struggling to make it through a winter that has seen prices drop steadily.

Crypto’s tumble, which started in April, continued over the weekend, and the market has fallen 12% in the last 24 hours. Leading cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether have dropped 14% and 25%, respectively, since Friday, as Bitcoin prices are now below $25,000, the lowest it’s been in 18 months

Last month, crypto firms including Coinbase, Gemini Trust Co., and Rain Financial all announced layoffs and hiring freezes. Amid rising inflation rates and slowing demand, fintech companies across the board cut more jobs in May than in the first four months of 2022 combined

On Monday, two more crypto firms—BlockFi and Crypto.com—made similar announcements, with BlockFi CEO Zac Prince tweeting that the company will be “reducing [its] headcount by roughly 20%” and Crypto.com announcing it was laying off 260 employees, or 5% of its workforce. 

But not every crypto company is in the same boat when it comes to slowing down hiring or laying off employees. Speaking at the Consensus 2022 conference last week, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the company had the resources to expand its hiring and focus on new acquisitions.

“We have a very healthy war chest; we in fact are expanding hiring right now,” Zhao said. “If we are in a crypto winter, we will leverage that, we will use that to the max,” he said, adding that the company is “kicking into high gear in terms of M&A activity.”

Zhao explained that unlike other crypto companies, Binance largely avoided spending big on promotional costs like Super Bowl ads or naming rights to sports arenas, which has helped its ability to grow despite rocky market conditions. 

Crypto.com, for instance, spent $700 million in November for the naming rights to the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, formerly known as the Staples Center. On Monday, the company joined the downsizing wave and announced it will be laying off roughly 5% of its workforce. 

Coinbase also entered the sports world in October, when it inked a deal to become the “exclusive cryptocurrency platform partner” for the NBA and the WNBA, as well as for NBA affiliate leagues, and USA Basketball.

Earlier this month, the company announced it was pausing hiring “for the foreseeable future” as a result of market conditions, and even went as far as rescinding job offers from people who had recently accepted jobs there but had not yet started to work. 

“We currently have more than 2,000 roles open from engineers, product, marketing to business development,” Binance co-founder Yi He told Fortune. “The crypto space is still in its early stages, and bull markets tend to care more about price while bear markets have more value-conscious teams that continue to build the industry. We see this as a great time to bring on top talent.”

In addition to new hiring and a focus on acquisitions, Zhao said Binance is looking to continue to invest in other companies. In February, Binance invested $200 million in Forbes to help blockchain technology’s expansion into new sectors. 

“As Web3 and blockchain technologies move forward and the crypto market comes of age we know that media is an essential element to build widespread consumer understanding and education,” Zhao said of the investment.

June 13, 2022: This story was updated to include a comment from Binance co-founder Yi He.

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